Our team manages all the steps of the implementation of a CRM (analysis, configuration, testing and post-implementation support)
WHO SETS UP THE CRM FOR ME? DO I ACTUALLY NEED ANYONE TO DO THAT?
Well, once you decide which CRM software fits best the next step is to decide who will tailor the CRM software, according to your needs. Seems like an easy decision. And it should be. However, in reality, choosing the right implementation company might be as tricky as choosing the CRM software itself.
First of all, why would you need an implementation company at all? Well, it very much depends how standard you want to use the CRM software. Because the CRM software comes with plenty of best-practices and tons of support materials, it might be handy to just use it as it is. A few companies actually do that. However, most companies want a little bit of tailoring to the standard CRM software because... well... because everyone it's special and because every company has something that is really particular to it and to nobody else. And that's good; but that means that someone has to do this tailoring. This is where the implementation company comes into the picture.
Actually, an implementation company should have 3 major purposes:
1. Consult the client and explain what standard CRM software actually means and how does it fit to the business;
2. Find and implement solutions for those special things in the client company and
3. Support and maintain the implemented solution and all the changes that may arise since the first setup (and usually changes arise).
HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE TO IMPLEMENT?
The time-to-market, as it is called, very much depends on the level of customers specific customization. If there is none, for a cloud solution it may take as less as one week to have it up-and-running (and it takes "that much" because there is some basic setup to do - otherwise it might as well be tomorrow). Usually it takes a little more than that, because besides customization, there is also data import and end-user training.
That being said, a straight-forward Salesforce CRM cloud implementation takes 1 to 3 months. If there is a lot of customization and integration it might take up to 6 months, but rarely it takes that long and almost never more than this. Even if there are a lot of modules, the customization can be phased so that the initial time-to-market is fast.
For Siebel and enterprise solutions, it takes a little longer (6 months +), because the level of customization and modules implemented is usually higher and it adds up to the installation and in-house security and administration setup.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO IMPLEMENT?
That is pretty much in tight connection with how much it takes to do the implementation. A quotation is related to the number of days and consultants (so called "mandays") that are needed to get the job done. If the consultants are experienced, they cost more but they do the job faster. If they are newbies, they will cost less but will spend far more time. It also relates to the speed of the implementation. Although the fact that "9 women will not give birth to a child in 1 month" pretty much applies to implementing software as well, there is a level of parallel work that can be done. That being said, the faster you want the project, the more people you will need. However it shouldn't cost you more (or only marginally more) as duration of the implementation shortens.
WHAT MAKES A CRM IMPLEMENTATION A SUCCESSFUL ONE?
There are a lot of factors that lead to a successful solution. From our experience there are some key points that need to be taken into consideration:
- The implementation team knows what they are talking about
- (-) Not having an experienced team may lead to reinventing the wheel for features that actually exist in the standard software but the implementation team is not aware of them; it may lead to not actually using best practices in CRM, but what everyone thinks is a CRM best practice; it may lead to a complex - difficult to maintain - solution
- (+) Having an experienced implementation team should guide to the best CRM practices and proper pin-pointed custom solutions
- The stakeholders understand what the high-level scope is
- (-) Not having stakeholders following the overall goal usually leads to a solution that is either takes far more amount of time to build and that eventually is far from what was expected in the first place. Although on the short term the stakeholders may be satisfied that they have driven the solution in another direction, on the long-term it usually leads to decrease satisfaction and adoption
- (+) Having stakeholders that know the overall goals leads to a goal driven solution, focused on what was initially considered as scope
- End-user are given a mind-set that the new system will help them. Lack of adoption is actually the main reasons CRM solutions are considered as not being effective
- (-) Not having users using the application (or not using it as expected) usually leads to having a poor return on the whole investment and a system that has little to no use. Lack of adoption is something that needs to be taken into consideration mainly due to the fact that most people are reluctant to change
- (+) Having end-users actually using the application at maximum is what the initial investment and implementation was made for, so there are very high chances that a proper mind-set leads to a good adoption and thus to a return on investment